Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Sub-standard operating theatres – wasting tax payer’s money and compromising patient safety?

letters to the editor the star 7/1/10.. Patient safety should not be compromised...


I am appalled by the revelation in the front page news of the Star (6/1/10) (Government surgical facilities in Terengganu out of action). Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have heard about it in Malaysia. It is a shame because the delay of healthcare service delivery lie at the basic infrastructure issues which should be non existence. Million ringgits of tax payer’s money had been wasted awarding contracts to unqualified and unaccredited contractors who knows nothing about building a healthcare facility. I am sure the specifications by the PWD and Ministry of Health is of international standard but unfortunately the lack of knowledge and awareness topped up by poor commissioning is such an embarrassment.

Surgery is one of the most complex health interventions to deliver. More than 100 million people in the world receive surgical treatment every year for various reasons. Problems associated with surgical and anaesthetic safety in developed countries account for half of the avoidable adverse events that result in morbidity and mortality.

Building a surgical facility is not about building an office like structure and crossing your fingers hoping that it will become an OT! There are a lot of factors that needs to be considered in tandem while designing an OT complex. These factors are inter-dependable namely the medical gas supply system, electrical safety, ventilation and air distribution, humidity and temperature control, scavenging and waste management, standard monitoring devices, optimum anaesthetic and surgical equipments. If one component is faulty then there is no way the OT facility can function optimally.

If the OTs in Terengganu services are halted because of basic infrastructure problems like leaks and shabby workmanship; what more will be the finite details? Patient safety is at stake here and I’m sure we don’t want to be famous worldwide by having an on OT table death caused by the roof which fell on him?

I urge the PWD, Ministry of Health and the involved bodies to seek local expertise for opinion and reference in rectifying this issue. Commissioning OTs for use should be aimed at ensuring patient safety in tandem with the modern infrastructure plans. Please learn from the past mistakes and move forward towards being recognized by specific international accreditation standards eg JCI. It will be ridiculous if after the physical repair was done the OTs will still cannot be commissioned for use because of patient safety compromise!!!


Anonymous said...

any idea who desings our ot's on the health ministry side? does each hospital have their own people calling the shots or is one body responsible for all our ot's in the country?


Mafeitz Mamat said...

1.definitely not with anaes.. I'm sure of that! the specs are ready when given out to the contractors.. they just do according towhatthey think it is. Eg remember dental OT? they did the whole renovation part but then. no scavenging ?? hahaha had to redo and OT was out for 2 years!!!
2.Do you know that, we are the only specialty who actually learn and being examined about stuffs in ot? amazing ah our jobscope in ensuring patient safety...